Saying No Gracefully

Tips for women who take on too much.
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Just Say No

It's 4:30 p.m., and you're winding down your workday. On your agenda for the evening: Pick up the kids at the sitter's (your spouse is at a client meeting tonight), make dinner, hop on the treadmill, and finish your day with a hot bath. Suddenly your phone rings. It's your boss, asking you to stay for a few more hours to crank out a last-minute project. What's your response?

If you're like most women, it's "yes." While our lives are becoming more and more jam-packed, we still feel compelled to agree to any task that's asked of us, whether it's walking a neighbor's dog, finishing a report at work, or baking a batch of brownies for the PTA fundraiser. The result of taking on more than we can reasonably handle is that we become so stressed, we have little time to enjoy the aspects of our lives we're supposed to relish.

The solution? Just say no. Of course, this is no easy task, especially when we're eager to please everyone around us. "Women worry that if they turn down a request from a boss or friend, they'll be seen as unreliable, selfish, and unlikable," says Gloria Butler, EdD, a psychologist in private practice in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. In some cases, professional women feel they're putting their chances of promotion or praise in jeopardy by saying no.

Continued on page 2:  Saying No: How Tos


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